It's all in the particulars

Angie Penley, San Francisco

Quilt Square #6

When Angie Penley’s sons want to save a half-sandwich for later, they won’t find plastic bags in the kitchen drawer. They must travel to Penley’s bedroom and argue their case for the baggy; if it’s justifiable, they’ll receive one of the few ziplocks that live on a shelf in their mother’s closet.
For Penley, plastic use is personal. She finds humanity’s carelessness about excessive waste “more haunting than bothersome,” and this fervor has forced her to seek balance between utter frustration and allowing others to make their own choices. While she attributes the intensity of her passion to multiple factors, she’s certain that growing up with parents that lived through the Great Depression fueled her disgust for waste in general, let alone plastic water bottles and take-out clamshells.
Penley is constantly discovering new ways to utilize items already available to her — she pours eco-friendly laundry detergent from a martini shaker, and wraps home-grown sponges in repurposed potato sacs. She combats fast-fashion by thrifting her wardrobe, and opts for bars of shampoo and conditioner instead of hefty bottles from drugstores. While she understands that the products and methods she tries are not always optimal, she believes the real importance is in her search for the “greener” option; to continue with what works, to say goodbye to what doesn’t, and to maintain a mind open to innovation that prioritizes our planet over convenience.
Photo: Repurposing a martini shaker for laundry liquid.